Trade and Investment Issues in the New Millennium Round
New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Alan M. Rugman and Gavin Boyd
Chapter 7: The EU in the WTO
Robin H. Pedler In the international political economy the European Union (EU), as a large single market with a system of collective management, is comparable with the USA, with which it has strong cultural afﬁnities and substantial structural interdependencies. The Union is enlarging, through the absorption of new members in its immediate environment, and these are attracted by its opportunities as an extensive area in which the transaction costs and risks of foreign trade have been virtually eliminated. In multilateral trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) the Union has strong bargaining capabilities, and since the late 1990s these have become more signiﬁcant because of the decline of the Japanese economy. The Union has a common external commercial policy, shaped through interactions between member governments and between them and the European Commission. Most of these governments are coalitions (the UK is an exception) and in four of the largest member states – France, Germany, Italy and the UK – power is held by Socialist parties. Only in France, however, are there traditional ‘left’ policies that may fuel protectionism. In the other three countries the ruling parties deﬁne themselves as ‘centre-left’, committed to the ‘third way’. UK Premier Tony Blair allies himself on important issues with the right-wing premier of the next largest country, Jose Maria Aznar of Spain. Their alliance was a driving force behind the Lisbon summit of March 2000 at which the 15 member governments committed themselves to promote growth and employment through deregulation in goods...
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